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Digital detox for younger children

Maria Fernandes

Children are drawn to gadgets like a magnet. It is extremely annoying because the more you try to detach them, the more they get attached. Ask any parent and they will tell you how these gadgets dominate their children’s lives. “During dinner, to make my daughter eat her food, I have to keep a cartoon show running on the phone,” says a mother. Another says that when she takes her son out to a friend’s house, all he wants to do is play games on her phone. The stories are varied and unending and prove the fact that gadgets have a firm hold on our children.

To help you liberate your child from the clutches of these gadgets, we spoke with some parents and this is what they recommended:

Board games: We all know kids love to play. Outdoors is the best; however if you are a working parent, coming home after a long day at work, outdoors may not always be possible, hence board games are a good option. Uno, Monopoly, Barbie cards (for girls), chess, or Snakes and Ladders are some examples. Some days, crayons or colour pencils can come to the rescue and as they get busy with colouring or drawing, you can give your inputs and feedback.

Camping with no internet: Let’s admit it, children are stuck to their gadgets for a considerable amount of time even on holidays. So how about a camping trip where there is no internet access? This way they will be forced to play games or just read or stroll. Going along with another family or relatives is a great idea. It also helps in bonding with one and another.

Making birthday/festival cards: Keep some supplies like colourful chart papers, glitter borders, glue sticks and stickers at home. Making cards for family and friends is a good way to keep them busy. There are unlimited videos you can watch (not for your little one though) to get ideas and share with your child.

Arrange play dates: Sometimes you need to outsource the job of keeping your child engaged. So how about play dates for them. You can take turns with other parents usually on holidays. Or, even meeting at a park or the beach with other parents and their children. When children are with their friends, they don’t ask for phones, tablets or TV.

Getting them to be your able-assistant: Children love to help, so utilise this to keep them busy and also teach them something. It could be gardening, no-fire cooking or washing the car, etc. A few words of praise are also required to keep them motivated.

Technology and gadgets are an integral part of our lives today, but we need to find non-digital ways to keep children physically active, develop their motor skills, stimulate all their senses, and nurture their social and intellectual skills, all necessary for growing a healthy mind and a healthy body. 

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